Pioneering 1980s music show The Tube honoured with plaque

Show's presenter Jools Holland unveiled tribute at former Tyne Tees Television Studio 5.
Cllr Nick Kemp, Jools Holland, Malcolm Gerrie and Cllr Karen Robinson, stood in front of a plaque on the wall of the former Tyne Tees Television Studio 5, commemorating 1980s show The Tube

A ground-breaking TV show which brought some of music’s biggest stars to Tyneside has been honoured with a commemorative plaque.

Presented by Jools Holland and Paula Yates, The Tube was the must-see TV music programme of the 1980s – helping to launch Channel 4 during its first week of broadcast on November 5, 1982.

Transmitted live from Tyne Tees Television’s Studio 5 on City Road in Newcastle, over the next five years, superstars of music including the likes of Elton John, Tina Turner, Paul McCartney, U2, Culture Club, ZZ Top and The Jam were welcomed onto Tyneside to perform live to the nation.

The multi-award-winning show had a reputation for giving unsigned acts their first taste of stardom and launched the careers of bands such as Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Terrence Trent D’Arby, The Proclaimers and Fine Young Cannibals.

It also gave a platform to rising comedy acts such as French and Saunders, Vic Reeves, Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson.

The plaque was unveiled by TV host Holland at the former television studios building on Thursday, November 30.

He said: “This programme not only started my career but it completely changed the face of television. 

“Every single person who worked on it was completely committed to it and it’s not like any other television programme that I’ve seen since. 

“I don’t believe it could have been that incredible programme unless it had been made here in Newcastle.”

The plaque unveiling was organised by Cllr Nick Kemp, Leader of Newcastle City Council, and former Mayor of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Karen Robinson.

Cllr Kemp said: “The Tube was a truly unique show that changed pop television forever.

“The 1980s was such an exciting and innovative time for the music industry and the programme was at the heart of that, bringing some music’s biggest names to our doorstep.

“So many of us still have fond memories of the show so it’s fantastic Jools Holland is celebrating the great times it brought to our city.”

The Tube was created by Malcolm Gerrie and Andrea Wonfor and it was directed by Gavin Taylor and Geoff Wonfor.

Malcolm, who attended the unveiling, said: “This is a real honour and a testament to the brilliant team who worked on the show, both in front and behind the cameras.

“They said we'd never get the big names to travel to Newcastle every week and perform in a regional TV station like Tyne Tees and we proved them wrong.

“For almost six years the likes of U2, REM, The Smiths, Tina Turner, Elton John, Wham, Eurythmics, Duran Duran, The Jam, and ZZ Top made a pilgrimage north to play live on Channel 4 and blow the roof off Studio 5 on City Road.

“For us, and the record industry, between 1982 and 1987, The Tube was the centre of the universe and music on TV would never be the same again.

“Years later, The Tube proved it could still attract the biggest names in music when artists including Prince, Robbie Williams and Paul McCartney fired up Studio 5 again for the one-off Millennium Tube.

“Having our very own plaque on the site where dreams became reality is the best tribute the city could have ever given us. Thank you.”